Gastineau Channel Little League will represent Alaska District 2 in the junior softball state championships.
The GCLL all-stars posted two wins over Ketchikan Little League Wednesday to recover from a 2-1 series deficit in the district tournament. Juneau tied the best-of-five series at 2-2 with an 11-9 afternoon victory at Dudley Field in Ketchikan. They then secured a 9-6 win in the winner-take-all series finale.
“We told the girls that win or lose, we wanted them to go all out and be able to walk off the field knowing there was nothing else they could have done,” Juneau manager Barb Strong wrote via text. “They did just that.”
Singles in the first inning by Mariah Schauwecker, Rileyanna Payne, Kaia Smith and Margot Oliver helped put Juneau up 6-4. Oliver, Gloria Bixby and Riley Harp all added to the visitor’s lead over the next two innings.
Schauwecker, who relieved Peyton Carson in the first inning, pitched a scoreless game from the fourth inning on and finished with four strikeouts and four hits allowed. Strong said the team’s defense tightened up as the game wore on.
“Riley Harp and Margot Oliver made some great catches in the outfield, and the infield didn’t let much get by them,” Strong said. “Our catcher (Sydney Strong) shut down several steal attempts and the pitchers worked hard at hitting the corners.”
The state tournament begins on Saturday in Ketchikan. Game one between GCLL and Anchorage’s Abbott-O-Rabbit Little League is at 6 p.m. The West Regional Tournament is July 13-19 in Tucson, Arizona.
Ketchikan coach Arnold Mendoza was unable to be reached for comment.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.